Return to Transcripts main page


Protesters in Chicago Calling For Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Resignation; Interview with Sen. Rand Paul; Accused Planned Parenthood Shooter: "I Am Guilty"; Some See Conspiracy Behind Trump's Bid; Trump Leaves Door Open To Independent Bid. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired December 9, 2015 - 16:30   ET



[16:32:58] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

You're looking at live pictures from Chicago, demonstrators gathering in the streets, calling for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This obviously comes after a number of incidents of police brutality, to say the least, including the killing of Laquan McDonald, for which a policeman has been charged with murder, although it took more than a year for the dash-cam video to be released. We will have much more on that story in the next block.

But let's stay with politics for now.

Donald Trump has been condemned by many Republicans for his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, but not everyone has joined that growing harsh chorus.


TAPPER: Joining me now to talk more about that proposed Muslim travel ban and much, much more, Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Senator Paul, thanks so much for being here. We appreciate it.


TAPPER: So, your fellow Republicans are calling Trump unhinged, saying his proposal is un-American, unconservative. You have been fairly muted in your criticism. What do you make of it all?

PAUL: Well, I don't think we should have a religious test.

But I think there's a danger of obviously generalizing to all Muslims, that that's a bad tendency. But the other tendency may be equally as dangerous. You have Hillary Clinton, who refuses to admit that radical Islam has anything to do with terrorism.

So, I think you can go too far in generalizing and sort of blaming all Muslims, but you can go too far in saying, you know what, this has nothing to do with a radicalization of a religion.

TAPPER: To play devil's advocate, I think one of the things that Clinton, Obama, and even George W. Bush before them, didn't want to do, in their refusal to use the term radical Islam, is help the terrorists turn this into a war of the West vs. Islam.

They call them jihadists or whatever, but I think that's why they do that.

PAUL: And I don't disagree with that. But I would say that part of the way we wage the war also makes a difference.

If it is seen to be Americans winning the battle over there, which we can do again, there's never going to be an end to this, because, once again, they will see it as a religious war then, because they will perceive it as Christians, Westerners and Americans, infidels, coming and, you know, crusading in their lands.


So, that's why I have also been saying to Hillary Clinton and others that the boots on the ground need to be Muslim boots on the ground. And that's not ignoring the religion. It's actually acknowledging that religion is part of this.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the bill that you proposed that I think was voted on last week, which...

PAUL: Right.

TAPPER: ... would have imposed a travel -- was it a travel ban?

PAUL: A moratorium until we get the -- an understanding of who's coming here and whether they're overstaying their visas.

TAPPER: Specifically from 33 different countries.

PAUL: Right.

And the reason for doing it is, is, we have looked around the world, and we say there's some high risk for some terrorists to come to our country. Think about it. From 9/11 on, people have used our immigration system to come here to attack us.

Nineteen hijackers on 9/11, they all used our visa system. They didn't obey our rules, though. The students came here, overstayed their visas, didn't go to school. Visitors came, overstayed their visa.

So the thing is, is, sure, wouldn't we want to have scrutiny and say, if you say you're coming for a month, that you go back home after a month? And if we don't know that, then I think we do need to press pause and say let's get a better grip on what's been going on. It's been 15 years, and we have not fixed our immigration system.

TAPPER: But 33 countries is a lot of countries. And I couldn't help but notice that almost all of them are majority-Muslim countries.

PAUL: Right.

TAPPER: Is this not a way to get around the religious test that Trump is proposing by doing it geographically, even though it's mostly Muslims?

PAUL: But mine is to try to figure out an answer.

So, for example, Global Entry is kind of like our frequent flier program internationally. You do a background check. For many of these countries, if we could get them into Global Entry, if you're a normal business man or woman who comes here all the time and you have international trade credentials and you're a part of the business community, get into Global Entry.

And let's get it so it's expedited. But if you're a 25-year-old kid and you have never traveled to America, I think there ought to be extra scrutiny before you come in from these countries.

TAPPER: I have to say, as somebody who follows your legislative work and your speeches very closely, who is a student of the Rand Paul oeuvre, if you will, I was surprised that, after Donald Trump's proposal, you weren't out there quoting James Madison, referring to religious liberty, reciting the Bill of Rights.

Why such a muted response?

PAUL: Well, I think some people confuse this.

Is having a religious ban against our sensibilities? Yes. So, absolutely, I don't think we should have a religious ban. But I think if we go too far the opposite way and say that we're not at risk for people coming here, and we're going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars going over there and waging war, where we're not willing to have rules about who comes into our country, the -- we had two Iraqi refugees come to my town in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and they were in the database.

One of them had fingerprints on an exploded bomb fragment, and yet we didn't sufficiently screen them. So I think all of us, no matter Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, I think we all could be for a little more scrutiny on who comes to visit.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about the issue of liberty vs. security.

In testimony today, FBI Director James Comey said terrorists using encrypted communications, this is a big problem, he said. This is what he had to say about that attempted terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, earlier this year. Take a listen.


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: That morning, before one of those terrorists left to try and commit mass murder, he exchanged 109 messages with an overseas terrorist. We have no idea what he said because those messages were encrypted.

And to this day, I can't tell you what he said with that terrorist 109 times the morning of that attack. That is a big problem.


TAPPER: Should a telecommunications company give the government access to encrypted communications?

PAUL: I think banning encryption is a little bit like banning guns. If you ban encryption, the law-abiding people won't use it. And the terrorists will still continue to use it.

You have to realize when they open up the source code to people, so the government can look into it, it's a weakness in a source code and other people can look. So China can then look and monitor their people, terrorists can find their way into it, hackers can, pirates can.

So, really, it's a weakening of the source code. If you let government in, you're potentially letting a host of other people in.

TAPPER: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker just said that the size of the Republican field is one of the reasons that Trump has been able to stay in the lead, because so much of the non-Trump voters are divided among a dozen or so candidates.

And he said that candidates should follow his lead and drop out. Our latest Iowa poll has you at 3 percent and 2 percent in New Hampshire. I think he's talking about you.

PAUL: Yes.

I think the polls have been so inaccurate that it'd be a mistake to base anything on the polls. In my state of Kentucky, a week before the election, they said the Republican was down five points, and he won by eight points, off 13 points in the week before the election.

I think, in fact, we have gone too far the other way of really basing election coverage and everything else on polls. We have gone into this Trump mania. I don't think he's going to win. I think really that we have overblown these polls, and, in reality, many of the people in these polls are not voters.


TAPPER: I guess we will see.

Senator Rand Paul, thanks for joining us.

PAUL: Thank you.


TAPPER: And this reminder: We are less than one week from the next Republican presidential debate, which you can see right here on CNN Tuesday night 8:30 Eastern. Tune in.

Some startling outbursts in court just minutes ago from the man accused of killing at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado. What did he yell out in court? Did it give us any definitive proof as to his motive? That story next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We have some breaking news just into CNN. The alleged Planned Parenthood shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, just shouted in a courtroom that he's -- quote -- "guilty" and he killed people at a Colorado Springs clinic to -- quote -- "protect the babies" -- unquote.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Paul, you were inside the courtroom when Dear, who I guess we can now definitively refer to as a domestic terrorist, he burst out and said this. What was the reaction inside the courtroom?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was absolutely hushed.

[16:45:00] He burst out at least 15 times, Jake, most of them allusions to the Planned Parenthood shooting. He said there is no trial. I'm a warrior for the babies.

Later on he said this is my life and he also said protect the babies repeatedly. One thing that's interesting, Dan King is defending him right now, the same public defender as James Holmes that's the movie theater shooter in Aurora, Colorado.

All of a sudden out of nowhere, again, another outburst by Dear. And he said, do you know who this lawyer is? He's the lawyer for the Batman shooter, the one where they drugged him all up. That's what they want to do to me.

He also said you will never know what I saw in that clinic, atrocities. That's what they want to seal. He was referring to prosecution and defense efforts to -- mainly defense efforts I should say to seal a lot of the material that's in this trial.

So from what I understand right now the lawyers will be coming out shortly addressing the media. But as I said, repeatedly Dear went off the rails so to speak. There was a bailiff, a sheriff's deputy standing next to him.

Finally at one point, he clamped his hand on his shoulder and quieted him. We're going to move for a second. We'll let you see if indeed this is the prosecutor if he addresses the media. We'll have to do this old school style hold up the mic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do have copies of accounts and I'll be happy to --

TAPPER: We're going to break away from Colorado Springs. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much.

We're going back to Chicago now where the protesters are continuing to clog the streets, call for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The demands are coming after claims of corruption and alleged cover-ups by the police department and other city leaders.

Let's go to CNN's Ryan Young in Chicago. Ryan, what are you hearing from demonstrators? And is there any particular reason they're going after Mayor Emanuel beyond the fact that he's obviously in charge of the city?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Without a shadow of a doubt. The cover-up they believe was held so he could get re-election. That's what everyone believes. Money was paid and was all put in place because they wanted to keep the family quiet.

You can hear the crowd here has gotten a lot smaller the last half hour, Jake. I think the crowd might be down about 300 people, Lake Shore Drive and straight in the middle of the highway. That did not happen.

The police officers were able to get here in time to stop them from making to Lake Shore Drive. Now we're on basically a side street as people are standing in the middle and talking out loud about what they want to see changed.

But something did happen in the last hour or so. There was a state bill put into place. Explain it to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State represent district on the west side filed House Bill 4356 to amend the home rule because it hasn't been amended since 1941 to be able to recall the mayor. It's not about Rahm Emanuel. It's about being able to hold officials accountable.

YOUNG: That's now happened so they have put that into place. There will be another meeting at the police headquarters tonight. So you can obviously see people are still very upset and angry as they march in the streets.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Young in Chicago, thanks so much. We'll continue to come back to the streets of Chicago. But let's move on right now. Is Donald Trump running for president in order to help Hillary Clinton? That's a conspiracy theory that Jeb Bush was asking. That story next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Our Politics Lead continues. Well, Donald Trump is again vaguely threatening to leave the Republican Party and run as an independent if he is not treated fairly.

Some politicos think he's already a member of another political party. In short they suggest Trump might be a Democrat, a plant who made a deal with Hillary Clinton to sink the Republican Party's hopes to win the White House.

CNN's Tom Foreman joins me now. Tom, the truth is out there. Is there any, as Skully and Molder used to say, is there any evidence to this theory?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. Nil, nada, zero. But that has not kept strategists and big time columnists and everybody else for months now swirling around this idea, and now it's been given new life again.


FOREMAN, (voice-over): Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, fierce front running foes, but some say hold on. What if Trump with his polarizing style is not running to win, but to split the Republican vote?

Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush tweeted. Continuing this path will put her in the White House. And Carly Fiorina --

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton's Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree.

FOREMAN: Trump is spinning a lot of time attacking his fellow Republicans.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Marco is overrated. Lindsey Graham, Carly's record -- Ben Carson -- Jeb Bush is so low in the polls. Might as well go home and forget it.

FOREMAN: That's primary politics, but conspiracy theorists say what about this?

TRUMP: I was a Democrat for a period of time early on.

FOREMAN: That's true. He's donated heavily to Republican and Democratic candidates. He hints he might run as an independent if he doesn't get the Republican nod. And while he savages Clinton now --

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of state in the history of the United States.

FOREMAN: Listen to what he said before.

TRUMP: I just like her. I like her and I like her husband.

FOREMAN: The Clintons attended his wedding and their daughters, Chelsea and Evanca are pals.

[16:55:04]All of which drives the conspiracy crowd to wonder if a secret Democratic tunnel is being dug to the oval office.


FOREMAN: Like in "The Shaw Shank Redemption." And helping her, that would be very un-Republican indeed.


FOREMAN: And once again to be sure there is zero evidence of an actual conspiracy, but the more Trump hangs in there, and Republicans fear he won't win, but could cost their party the election, the more that theory gains traction -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. You went Shaw Shank and not x-files. I appreciate it. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.


TAPPER: Let's talk about Trump and the 2016 campaign with Christopher Buckley, a political satirist and novelist. His new book called "The Relic Master." It's a great read, a departure from his normal satire. We'll get to that shortly.

I want to start with politics. Christopher, thanks for being with us. Answer this question for me, please, is Donald Trump a Hillary Clinton plant?

CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY, AUTHOR, "THE RELIC MASTER": Donald who? Never heard of him. Who is this Trump you mention? Well, if he is a Hillary Clinton plant, this is the most successful political plant operation in history.

I will say to the many Mr. Trump supporters out there, if you want to elect Hillary Clinton next November, keep doing what you're doing. You're doing a great job.

TAPPER: You once envisioned what a Donald Trump inaugural address would sound like. You wrote this for "The Wall Street Journal" in 1999 when Trump was threatening to run. You inhabited the mind of Mr. Trump.

You imagined him saying many things including this, quote, "It's not complicated, missiles, very simple, aim one at us, I fire 100 at you. So don't go there. The idea of turning a country into a radioactive parking lot, that doesn't bother me. I sleep fine."

Now, Christopher, you wrote that as satire 16 years ago. How does it stack up against what you're hearing on the campaign trail?

BUCKLEY: If I may say so, that reads pretty well. The first line of the -- Mr. Trump's inaugural as scripted in that piece, is this is a great day for me personally. Well, maybe we will live to hear an actual Donald Trump inaugural.

But if we do, I'm getting into a time capsule and going back to the 16th Century where -- which is the timeframe of my novel. And I'm staying there for four or eight years.

TAPPER: Let's talk about your novel because it is quite a departure from your political satire. You might be best known perhaps for "thank you for smoking," which is a hilarious look at the world of lobbying in Washington, D.C.

How did this come to you this idea of a book about -- in the 16th Century in Europe about a group of schemers or two schemers who come up with a forgery of the shroud of touring.

BUCKLEY: Well, it was kind of accidental. I came across a reference to a collection of holy relics by -- that belonged to someone named Frederick of Saxony. He was Martin Luther's employer. In fact, he was crazy for holy relics, the way Mr. Trump is crazy for sort of golden objects.

I saw a "Vanity Fair" piece in his apartment. Everything is gold. Anyway, Frederick of Saxony had a collection of holy relics numbering 19,013, thumb bone of Saint Anne, crown of thorns, straw from the holy manger.

And I became sort of fascinated in that and that led me indirectly to -- I tried to imagine, well, where did he get all these holy relics? So I invented this character.

And obviously he's fictional he acts as a pinball who boings into various actual historical bumpers, real people, the corrupt cardinal of Manz, a splendidly corrupt pope at the time, Pope Leo X. So sort of built the book brick by brick you might say.

TAPPER: It's very resonant for today in terms of the politics even if it's 16th Century Europe. It really is not so dissimilar. Christopher Buckley, thank you so much for your time, best of luck with the book.

BUCKLEY: Delighted to be here. Thanks.

TAPPER: That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.